How to Pass the Time on Flights

We all know that I think flights feel like torture. Like, if you wanted me to admit all the terrible things I’ve ever done and also tell you my bank account details, you can put me on a plane and watch hell unfold. Well, when flights don’t physically feel like actual torture, my biggest complaint is that it’s hard to decide what to do in order to not go completely nuts.

panic attack

If you let too much time pass without a book, chit chatting with your seat mate, or watching a terrible in-flight movie, you’ll be stuck completely with your own thoughts, with no way to escape. Truly the worst of all fates.


Make a List

There’s practically nothing better than wasting your time with setting up lists that you’ll never look at later. Or maybe you will, to disappoint yourself. Look how far you haven’t come, the list will say. But, without much preparation before your travel, you’ll need a simple idea. Something you don’t have to think about too much before you get on the plane, so that you spend your time listing and not thinking about which list to make.

Make a list of imperfections about your body. Make a list of all the terrible noises that you hear throughout the plane ride. List what you think every time the guy across the aisle leans over and stares at you intently. List all of the faults in your personality. Put stars next to the things that have been shouted at you.

boo hoo



This one requires even less planning, because at a minimum you can draw everything you see, on a whim. Or you can just draw everything in the safety manual, or the inflight magazine. Draw circles until they cover an entire page. Draw squares until they cover an entire page.

Scribble over a page until ink covers the whole thing. Scribble until your scratchy and unreliable ballpoint pen, the only one you could find, gives out, and you need another thing to do. Scribble until you can’t.



Look at the Magazine

If there is an inflight magazine, go ahead and grab that and get ready to spend your whole flight with this goldmine. Flip to any page and count how many words appear. Count how many sentences. Count how many words per sentence or how many words per paragraph. Average some of those things out. Add the digits in the number you just got.

Flip to a new page, start over. Not a word person? Count all the people, then how many are women. Count how many business ads appear. Is that too much counting? Glance at each page as you slowly go through every page in the magazine, repeatedly. That should take up at least enough time for you to forget what you were thinking about earlier.



Drink. Definitely try drinking.

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